The United Kingdom’s government is looking to try and avoid a full national lockdown as much as possible in order to prevent unemployment from reaching the millions, Environment Secretary George Eustice claimed on Thursday.
Speaking with Sky, Eustice said “I’ve not seen any projections of 4 million but certainly we know that there are some 700,000 extra people that are already unemployed as a result of this, and yes you know the projections are, that there are going to be economic impacts”.
He added that “It’s for precisely that reason that we are trying to avoid a full lockdown”.
The UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility forecast revealed in July that unemployment would peak at 11.9% during the final quarter of 2020 according to its central economic scenario, with this being equivalent to more than 4 million people, and it will then have an average of 3.5 million unemployed in 2021.
However, since July the situation in the UK has gotten much worse, as from reporting 880 daily new cases in July 31, the UK has gone to reporting highs of 7,143 and 7,108 daily new cases on September 29 and September 30 respectively.
In an even more negative scenario, unemployment throughout 2021 could average 4 million, thus providing an even worse outlook than for 2020.
The Bank of England has forecast that unemployment will rise to around 2.5 million by the end of 2020.
Since the end of July, the UK’s number of total cases has surged from 303,181 in July 31 to 453,263 in September 30, thus almost increasing by 50%.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson previously announced that the furlough scheme will come to an end on October 31, a scheme that has protected plenty of jobs throughout the pandemic.
However, Johnson also stated that this will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, which will aid those that can work for at least a third of their hours.
For the hours not worked, the UK government will be providing each with one-third of the remaining wages, and so every employee will get around 77% of their usual pay.